ONE SABBATH MORNING, a church elder was walking to church when suddenly, he began to feel ill. Unable to bear the pain, he collapsed and lost consciousness. At that moment, two men who were going to a bar passed by and decided to help him. They carried him the best they could between the two of them and took him to the bar, where they let him lay down for a while. When the church elder recovered consciousness, they gave him a glass of water. He was very thankful to those good Samaritans and continued on his way, but not without inviting them to his church.
Just at the moment when he was leaving the bar, a woman from the same congregation who was also going to church was passing by on the sidewalk across the Street. Shocked by what she had just seen, she hurried to go and tell her friends what she had just witnessed. «I saw the elder of our church coming out of a bar!!»she exclaimed breathlessly.
«Sister, are you sure he was coming out of the bar?’ they asked her.
«Yes, of course I’m sure,» she confirmed.
«Perhaps he was doing missionary work,» someone commented.
«Of course not,» she said. «I saw him staggering; he did not look well. It is obvious that he had had a few drinks. And now he’s coming to preach to us! Well, I do not intend to listen to him.
«Soon, the gossip spread like fire. However, when the elder got up to preach, he began by giving a wonderful witness of the love for one’s neighbor that he had just experienced in his own flesh. There was a great silence in the church—one of those that take place when people are ashamed of themselves.
There are those who move their lips only to do evil (see Proverbs 16:30), but there are also those who think generously because they are generous people. We have to be that second type of people so that when our eyes see something strange, our first thought is that of love toward the person, not of condemnation; and after the thought, generous words come from our lips and acts of goodness follow. is fitting for a woman who say she is a Christian, because she follows the example of the One who lived to think and do good.
James reminds us: «Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law…. Who are you to judge another?» (James 4:11, 12).
«A generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand» (Isaiah 32:8).